Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

P-39

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Gromit801, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,610
    Likes Received:
    774
  2. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    29
    The damn thing didn´t work right, so the AAC thought better a low altitude fighter that works than a high altitude fighter that doesn´t. Plus a critical altitude of ~12k feet was 'acceptable' in 1939.
    Turbochargers cost an arm and a leg, superchargers were comparatively cheap: Army Air Forces in World War II
    The Soviets got the N and Q versions of the P-39. Compared to the D's the AAC disliked so much the Soviet brids had more power, were faster, performed much better at higher altitudes(~20k feet) and were free of bugs.
     
  3. Vanir

    Vanir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    27
    I have to giggle everytime I hear the words aerial cannon and soviet pilot in the same sentence, over this one guy I saw describing some kills he got in the P-39N. He said he loved the big gun, they all did and not for shooting at ground targets it was for shooting at german planes at point blank range. He says his favourite thing that ever happened was a german fighter crossed right in front of him, and he shot with the big gun, thump, thump, thump and when the first round hit the entire a/c just desintegrated in front of him, he made big swinging motions with his arms and big wide eyes, grinning he says it just went voosh and it was just a cloud of smoke.

    I know it's not good to laugh at something involving a death, but the way he told it was pretty funny.

    Dunno about quoting sources, from what I've read around for the Yak-9T and LaGG-3T (fitted with NS-37 high velocity motorguns, where the Oldsmobile 37mm in the P-39 is low velocity and only good for soft targets), Soviet pilots annoyed TsAGI during the service evaluation phase with them because instead of testing the gun on ground targets, they kept using up all their ammunition trying to chase down german fighters with marksman shots from extreme range, close to a kilometre for the NS-37 and well over a kilometre for an NS-45. These are right up with the FlaK guns Germans were putting in tank busters.
    You know and I can really picture it, excited pilots being told to escort sturmoviks, then running off to dogfight Messers with a great big, really big gun.
     
    Triple C and brndirt1 like this.
  4. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    One author suggests that Western historians often thought the Cobras were ground attack aircrafts because the Soviets tasked it with providing air cover, which was misunderstood to mean close air support; in reality, it meant force protection against opposing aircraft.
     
  5. Vanir

    Vanir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    27
    Quite true Triple C, Chris Bishop is a big editor of commercial aero warbird publications and he repeatedly states in his books from the 80s to now (most recent is a couple of years ago), about soviet pilots primarily tasked with ground attack in airacobras, which is utterly erroneous (the gun in it is designed to punch through duralumin, not steel), he even goes so far as to say the Soviet kill markings on airacobras are for panzer kills which is completely ridiculous.

    They did really well against Japanese ground targets because what Japan calls heavy armour, western europe calls a bit of deflection netting. The French had 90mm glacis armour in 1934, the Tiger was designed (I should say armour specs ratified) in 1938.
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,341
    Likes Received:
    232
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    ..reading The Do or Die Men ..page 206 states the P400 had 6 .30 MGs plus the cannon...now when I search for the P400, I get all kinds of different armament ...does any one know exactly what it carried?
    ..book states the P400s gave Edson's Raiders mucho sorties for the Tasimboko raid ...4 sorties in one day.....a lot of firepower there
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,662
    Likes Received:
    476
    Location:
    London UK
    There is a factual basis behind the dislike of USAAF pilots of the P39. According to the statistical analysis of aircraft losses in the Continental US, 245 P39 were lost for every 100,000 flying hours, compared to 127 for the P47 and 105 for the P51. It was twice as dangerous to learn to fly this aircraft. The stories of nasty handling characteristics may be true.

    British media published promotional material from Bell positioning the aircraft as a ground attack aircraft with the 37mm gun as a tank buster. It looked like a shrewd marketing move given Blitzkrieg, but was an utter fail with the RAF, who hated the idea of close air support. The P39's poor high altitude performance was the killer. 601 Squadron breifly trialed the aircraft and gave it the thumbs down.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,503
    Likes Received:
    1,172
    I wonder if the position of the engine played a role in balance requiring more training/skill to fly safely.
     
  9. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,761
    Likes Received:
    301
    Chuck Yeager almost, as he put it, "bought the farm" not far from where I live. They were on a training mission in P-39s over the Sweetwater Rocks. His engine burst into flames and he had to bail out. In the process his back was broken and he was knocked unconscious. Fortunately, a sheepherder found him and slung him over his horse and brought him in. So that would indicate that these planes had some bugs in them.Someday I hope to find the wreck of his airplane!
     
  10. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2020
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    207
    I read Yeager's autobiography book back in the 80's and he didn't have many kind words about the P-39 but he said years later he met some Russian pilots at a reunion who flew it and they praised it up and down..old Chuck simply kept quiet his opinions about it..I guess the later models were a dramatic improvement what he flew??
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,503
    Likes Received:
    1,172
    I think it had to do with Russian tactical doctrine and how well it fit into that, crew safety would always be a secondary issue.
     

Share This Page